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Trade Makes Room for Bear Sanctuary

Nonprofit could lease 20 acres adjacent to Eaglecrest Ski Area

Timothy Inklebarger / AP / Juneau Empire / July 21, 2005

Garbage-munching bears spoiled by their human neighbors could have a new sanctuary under a proposal by a nonprofit group in Juneau.

The project cleared a major hurdle in June with the completion of a land trade between the U.S. Forest Service and a 100-acre Native allotment on Admiralty Island.

The allotment belongs to the family of Angoon resident Gabriel George. George and his family received 220 acres of land on Douglas Island adjacent to Eaglecrest Ski Area.

George, 60, said he is considering leasing 20 acres of the land to a Juneau-based nonprofit called Bear Education & Animal Rehabilitation Sanctuary Inc., or B.E.A.R.S. Inc.

Since 2001 the group has been working to secure land and funding to rehabilitate and return to the wild bears that wander into urban areas for food. B.E.A.R.S. Inc. executive director Chris Grant said the facility also would educate the public on conservation and bear safety.

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